7.7/10
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Ritual (2000)

Shiki-Jitsu (original title)
A disillusioned filmmaker has an encounter with a young girl who has a ritual of repeating "Tomorrow is my birthday" everyday. He tries to communicate with her through his video camera

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(screenplay), (novel)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Director
...
She
...
Bicycle man
Shinobu Ohtake ...
Her mother (as Shinobu Ôtake)
Suzuki Matsuo ...
Man (voice)
Megumi Hayashibara ...
Woman (voice)
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Storyline

A disillusioned filmmaker has an encounter with a young girl who has a ritual of repeating "Tomorrow is my birthday" everyday. He tries to communicate with her through his video camera

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

7 December 2000 (Japan)  »

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Ritual  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Shiki-jitsu is based on the autobiographical nouvella "Tohimu" written by Ayako Fujitani (who plays the leading role). See more »

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User Reviews

That Hideaki Anno Feeling
10 September 2004 | by (Jigoku West, a.k.a. Las Vegas) – See all my reviews

Ayako Fujitani is gorgeous and amazing in this film, it's hard to believe that her only other significant credits are three giant monster Gamera movies! (Which I would now like to see!)

Anno, for those who know his anime, is well-suited for film. The type of fun visual metaphors that filled "KareKano" from wall to wall are here, too, but used a bit more sparingly.

The plot concerns a burnt-out animator/filmmaker who, running away from his career, returns to the industrial town where he was born. There he encounters a waif, a half-crazy, suicidal, obsessive-compulsive girl who nevertheless has an incredible charm about her. By just listening to her (and eventually filming her), he becomes a part of her life.

As the two grow ever closer, of course disaster looms. Will he need to retreat from this crazy girl? Will his retreat destroy her fragile heart?

The end of the film is a bit disappointing. Anno offers some explanations of why she is like she is, but there really is no revelation. Without revelation, it would be better if left mysterious. This may be the novelist's fault but, given his history, Anno does seem to have problems with endings.

The cinematography is quite beautiful, even the polluted landscape of an industry town is gorgeous here.

Another viewer complained about metaphors, wondering specifically about the girl liking railroad tracks because they are always together but never meet. Well, the girl begs the guy to always be with her, and she also says that she does not like sex. Simple if you use your brain, but you do have to have one.

Any metaphors or philosophizing in this movie are just as simple. Nothing high-faluting or divorced from real experience.

If you liked Evangelion and think you will like this, please remember that there are no giant robots in this movie. If that's cool with you, you will probably have a good time. Thank you.

addendum: a year after writing the above, I learned that Fujitani is the daughter of action star Steven Seagal, and (between Gamera films) appeared in his 1998 movie The Patriot. Her novella "Shiki-Jitsu," which Anno adapted to the screen was inspired by the difficulties she experienced during the time she spent in Los Angeles. Now I'm even more in awe!


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